I would imagine that most of us have or had a vision for what they would like their life to be like.

Some of us are at the beginning of creating our masterpiece, with this beautiful blank canvas staring back at us and no clue where to begin. Some are right in the middle with a hodgepodge of colors, shapes and textures, full of potential yet still difficult to identify the outcome. Others have already thrown their canvas in the trash, disappointed with how the picture turned out and not sure whether they have the vision, hope or energy to begin again. And last but not least, there are some individuals who are thrilled with their final creation and have hung it carefully on the wall for others to admire. I was trying to determine which stage I was at when it occurred to me that I was actually at all of the stages above.

Yes, I am a confused individual. Who said that we can only paint one picture at a time or that we only get one canvas to paint? I want it all, lots of canvases, tons of colors and plenty of wall space to hang my masterpieces on.

Honestly, I never thought that I would ever say that I wanted anything again after Andy moved to Heaven, but you heard it folks. I said it. How in the world did that happen? What made me feel like I could paint again, create again, live again? So many of us face challenges that will shake us to the very core of our existence making it difficult to even contemplate picking up a paintbrush, let alone creating something beautiful. It really is all about the perception and perspective which allow us to begin again.

There just seems to be something inside us that screams for life and all of its messiness. I can remember as a child that I loved to finger-paint most of all. I loved the feel of the cold, gooey paint sliding over the paper and mixing all of the colors together. Can you imagine doing that right now? What would you paint? Isn’t it to be expected that our wall of creations would be filled with a mixture of dark, sullen and sad paintings as well as happy, sunny and cheery portrayals of a wonderful life?

I think that this is where we can get lost or sidetracked by not expecting to have a full range of experiences in our lives. Just like the lyrics in the song by John Lennon…”Nobody told me there would be days like these”, we are unprepared for all of the messed up paintings. Shouldn’t we be teaching and preparing our kids and ourselves better for what the journey of life is really going to look like?

Come on, it is the “E” ticket ride and we need to grab it for all its worth. Peaks and valleys that make us scream and yell in fear and joy! I never wanted to be just “The High Plains Drifter”! That being said, we do need to be prepared for the ride ahead, but we first have to make the decision to get on. Trust me, I never thought that I would survive this valley, but I am living proof that with the right coping tools, the comfort of my God, and the fight to move forward, one can begin to paint again. Come along with me and let’s get messy! Don’t be afraid to try again.